Growing a Platform with Platform University’s John Meese | PoP 480

Growing a Platform with Platform University's John Meese | PoP 480

Are you intimidated by the online marketing world? What steps should you take to grow your platform? How are things likely to change in the post-pandemic business world?

In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks to John Meese about growing a platform and how you can build your audience online.

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Meet John Meese

John Meese is on a mission to eradicate poverty and views entrepreneurs as the most effective vehicle for world-wide change. As a result, he’s made it his personal mission to systemize success for entrepreneurs so they can’t help but succeed!

John leads a team focused on simplifying online marketing for professionals as the Dean of Platform University, a multimillion-dollar online community started by Michael Hyatt in 2013.

While you won’t find him on social media, you can find him on his own blog, johnmeese.com, in addition to the training content he regularly publishes at platformuniversity.com.

Visit Platform University’s website, connect on Twitter, and Facebook.

In This Podcast

Summary

  • The online marketing world
  • Getting out into the world
  • Business trends in this pandemic world

The online marketing world

This is a huge opportunity for the platform industry, for the internet influencers of the world, to really be elevated by experienced professionals with a decade of experience, with licensed certifications, with training, to step into that opportunity and say, ‘Look, we’re here, and we have something valuable to say’.

Platform University’s mission is to simplify online marketing for professionals. When the internet first really became a thing, there was an early wave of people who jumped on it right away and became relatively successful. For the most part, this was based more on how quickly they could grasp the technology than the substance of what they had to say.

Over the last couple of years, people have become more dissatisfied with the people just sharing whatever has the highest paying affiliate link without credibility or experience to back up what they’re saying e.g. Instagram influencers on the beach sharing risque photos and nutritional supplement affiliate links. With the current health crisis and lockdown, research shows that people are looking for trusted experts.

Getting out into the world

The reality is that email is the only medium that for more than 20 years, has successfully allowed people to build completely online business and grow income and communicate with their audiences directly.

John is always blown away by the wisdom that his therapist shares in their sessions, the wisdom that is locked in that room. His therapist, Marcus, doesn’t have a podcast, email list, or website, the only way to get that wisdom and experience is to drive and pay money to sit in a room and talk to him. John wants to shout all of this expertise to everyone and that’s true for so many licensed experts.

They’ve really been done a disservice by social media influencers over the last 5-10 years who have been acting as if they’re the experts when they’re really not. If Marcus asked John to help get him out into the world, John’s action plan would be as follows:

1. Start a weekly email newsletter

Tips to figure out your message for weekly emails:

  • You’ve been emailing for your entire professional career. Take that exact same skill set and translate that to the emails that you’re sending your audience.
  • Even if you’re writing an email to 1000 people, you actually need to write it to one person and just send it out that way so that it feels like a personal email. Don’t say “Hey everyone” for example as that immediately tells someone that you’re not talking to them, you’re talking to a crowd.
  • When someone first joins your email list, the first 5-10 emails should feel like they’re part of a series of some kind but after that, every email should stand alone. The average open rate of emails is less than 30% so if someone opens email number 4 and they haven’t read the first 3, they may ignore it because they feel like they’re behind. You want people to be able to jump in wherever they are.

2. Pick a content medium to publish content publicly

The big categories are a blog, podcast, YouTube channel or you could just start with social media but John doesn’t recommend that. Rather start with something that you own first and then use social media to promote that.

  • YouTube – If you’re naturally good on video and enjoy that.
  • Podcast – Maybe you’ve already spent most of your career just talking to patients so then a podcast would be a phenomenal way to start.
  • Blog – It is the easiest to create and the easiest to consume. Blogs also have the extra benefit of giving Google a lot more to work with which will help you rank higher in search results.

3. Focus on identifying one primary strategy to use to get people to your website

  • Paid advertising – a legitimate way but can be very expensive.
  • Social Media – within social media, figure out who your target audience is and where they’re spending most of their time i.e. Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, etc.
  • SEO – Use tools like answerthepublic.com to find out what people are searching for and create your content based on the questions people are asking which will likely rank you higher on Google.

Business trends in this pandemic world

We’re not going to go back to everyone going back to the office. Some professions are, some people are going to work remotely, some people are going to find an office near their home or a co-working space.

Telehealth

Before the pandemic, telehealth was a cool new thing that some people were doing but the vast majority of professionals weren’t offering it as an option at all. Pandemic or not, John doesn’t think that we’ll go back to the default of everyone going in for their sessions but rather that the default will change to video calls. He has a hunch that people are actually going to be willing to pay a premium for in-person services but only if it’s an experience. So, you have to think about that in terms of how your service relates to an experience?

The internet usage at different times of the day is radically changing

Before the pandemic, live graph maps internet usage shot up like crazy between nine and five, Monday to Friday in cities and major metropolises. Now, during the same time, internet usage is shooting up in towns that before didn’t even show up on the map because of virtual remote work. John thinks that this is going to radically change the landscape, in America and across the world, of where people do business.

Click here to access all the resources from Platform University mentioned in this episode

Books mentioned in this episode

Useful Links:

Meet Joe Sanok

private practice consultant

Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners that are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.

Thanks For Listening!

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Podcast Transcription

[JOE]:
Between writing notes, filing insurance claims, and scheduling of clients, it can be hard to stay organized. That’s why I recommend TherapyNotes. Their easy-to-use platform lets you manage your practice securely and efficiently. Visit therapynotes.com to get two free months of therapy notes today. Just use the promo code JOE when you sign up for a free trial at therapynotes.com.

This is the Practice of the Practice podcast with Joe Sanok, session number 480.

I don’t know if you know who Michael Hyatt is but when Platform University reached out to me, I freaked out. John, who I’m going to be talking with today, is with Platform University and Michael Hyatt is someone I’ve respected for really long time. And I’m just so excited that I get to share this with you. It was actually a couple months ago I recorded this. And I’ve been waiting to be able to release this and I’m so darn excited. So, I’m not even going to talk that much because I want to get John on this podcast. So, here he is.

Today on the Practice of the Practice podcast, we have John Meese. John is on a mission to eradicate poverty, and views entrepreneurs as the most effective vehicle for worldwide change. As a result, he’s made it his personal mission to systematize success for entrepreneurs, so they can’t help but succeed. John leads a team focused on simplifying online marketing for professionals as the Dean of Platform University, a multi-million-dollar online community started by Michael Hyatt in 2013. John, welcome to the Practice of the Practice podcast.

[JOHN]:
Well, thank you so much for having me, Joe. I’m glad to be here.

[JOE]:
Yeah, well I feel like we could start in a lot of different directions. I’ve respected Michael Hyatt’s work for a while and he just kicks out so many great books and content and things like that. I would love to just talk about how you got connected with Michael, and then for people that haven’t read the book Platform, or don’t know Platform University, I think it’s good to just have some kind of starting bullet points, and then maybe we can dive into the application of that for therapists. So, tell us how kinda got involved with platform.

[JOHN]:
Yeah, I’ll be happy to. So, I started on that kind of traditional path of like, actually on track to get my PhD in economics, because I was really just kind of like, interested in how society works, how business works, how money moves. I mean, that’s really a lot of just how people function in the world today. So, I was on that path and evaluating my options, I’m like, okay, so if I succeed at this, and I get my PhD in economics, what’s next? Well, you can write a book. Okay, well… Or you can like, teach a class. And I’m like, well, wait a second. Do I actually need a PhD to do this? And I was frustrated by some of the stuff I was learning in class I didn’t feel like was actually related to day to day life. You probably heard this 1000 times about different fields and education but all that to be said, about this time, I picked up a copy of the book Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World, in the year 2012. It came out and it was an instant, massive bestseller. Number one New York Times bestseller, translated into more than 40 languages. Still sells like crazy years later. But at the time it was this new idea, that you… really, the gatekeepers were dead, you could create a platform where you could stand… I mean, essentially the metaphor comes from 200 years ago, the way you got heard in a noisy crowd was you literally got a box; you got a big box, often the easiest ones to find used to have soap in them, right? So, you got your soap box and you put it in the middle of the crowd, and you stood up on top of it. And then you shouted, and you were just a little bit taller and a little bit louder than everybody and that’s how you got people’s attention.

Well, the world’s changed – people still function similarly, but the crowd has moved online. And so how do you get heard online? Well, you have to build a platform so that you can stand on a personal brand where you have people’s attention. So, that was a really intriguing idea to me. So, I joined Platform University, which was Michael Hyatt’s new membership site at the time, teaching people how to do this. And this was in the days where, like, you know, one of the modules was like, hey, here’s how you create a Facebook page, it’s this new thing that Facebook just came out with. So, platform university is definitely, it’s one of the older, it’s been around long enough, it’s just a few years, but on the internet, that’s like decades.

So, I built my own blog. I launched my own podcast, I have my own online courses, started making affiliate income and doing some consulting. And I was able to make that my full-time income. I quit my day job. I left. I finished my… I have two bachelor’s degrees, but I kind of stopped that path and said, no, this is working right now. I retired my wife from her job as a teacher and everything was going amazing. And we had our second son on the way. We had a newborn, and then my wife was pregnant as well. So, we were doing the two out of two thing. And then Michael just reached out and said, hey, can we grab lunch? And I’d learned so much from him that I was just like, of course, I mean, buy me lunch. That sounds great. And at that meeting, him and Megan, who’s his daughter and is the COO of his company as well, they asked me, they said, hey, we’ve been watching what you’ve been doing. And we’re looking for someone to come into Platform University and help other students really succeed. I mean, not just like, consume the content, but actually put it into practice, and you’ve done that really well. So that turned into a really beautiful partnership over the last three years, where I’ve been running Platform University as the Dean and really helping other students achieve the same level of success, or more, that I had.

[JOE]:
Oh, that’s a great background and just kind of hear how you got to this point. I would love to hear a little bit more about Platform, because you and I before we got going, we were talking about how many people are “influencers” online, and very few of them are actually you know, licensed professionals. They don’t have the academic background or the professional background, oftentimes. They may have had one experience where then they use that to just talk about how you should live your life. And, you know, I saw this quite a bit when I was at a conference in late 2019, and it was a podcasting conference for podcast guests to kind of pitch to us podcasters to be on our show. And there’s maybe three licensed professionals there and all the podcasters just ate them up, like they got so many guest spots and the other “coaches” didn’t, you know, they would get, you know, two or three people and if their pitch was good and aligned, but the psychologists, the counselors, the therapists, the social workers, they just killed it. And that’s when we started a lot of our podcasting work with therapists. So, I’d love to hear, maybe, let’s start with just the observation of what you see in the online marketing world. And the opportunity for people that really are licensed and know their stuff.

[JOHN]:
Sure. Well, I’d be happy to and that’s why I’m so excited to be here, Joe, and just so grateful for this opportunity because I mean, this has really been something over the last three years that I’ve noticed shifting, and that I’ve gotten really excited about. And that’s also why I mean, I think you mentioned in my bio, you know, our mission right now is to simplify online marketing for professionals. Because the reality is when the internet first became a thing, and I don’t just mean like, you know, email and websites, but I mean, like when social media really took the world by storm and changed the entire way we communicate online, well, there was this early wave of people that kind of jumped on it right away. And they figured it out really quickly. And they became relatively successful online. But that was really based on how quickly you could grasp and understand the technology and just the quirks of online interaction. It wasn’t really based on for the most part, the substance of what they had to say. Now, in the last couple years that’s been shifting, that people have been more and more dissatisfied with the online guru or health coach, that is really just sharing whatever has the highest paying affiliate link. It doesn’t really have any credibility or experience to back up what they’re saying, you know, and so that’s where you get these, you know, these Instagram influencers on the beach, sharing these risqué photos, and like, you can have this body too, you just got to buy this nutritional supplement through my affiliate link. And it’s just, I think people have been tired of it for a while.

But recently when our world really shifted dramatically. And not just the health crisis of COVID-19, but just the lockdown, everything shifted so quickly and so dramatically, that people who were kind of on the fence, they were like, I don’t really know about that whole thing. They just dismissed it completely. They were like, you know what, nope, I need to listen to nobody but trusted experts. I mean, that’s what the research is showing right now is that people are looking for who is the actual expert, because everybody has an opinion on everything. So I think this is a huge opportunity for the Platform industry, for the internet influencers of the world, to really be elevated by experienced professionals with a decade of experience, with licensed certifications, with training, to step into that opportunity and say, look, we’re here. And we have something valuable to say. And I think that I’m really excited about that, because I think that’s actually going to be better for all of us.

[JOE]:
Yeah, I think we’ve often talked in this podcast about the difference between an information gap and an implementation gap. There’s no information gap. There’s plenty of information out there. It’s more that people want to pay for speed. They want to listen to a podcast and say, that half hour just saved me five hours of time with whether it’s my kid or my marriage or whatever, that really helped me implement quicker, versus, like, you can google just about anything, but it might take you 10 hours to find a good answer. And am I even gonna trust that expert?

[JOHN]:
Yeah, exactly. Well that’s really true. And it’s really important. And I mean, I’ve felt this for a while, like… So up until this recent lockdown… I go to a licensed therapist, and I have been so blown away by the wisdom that he shares in those sessions. We’re like, I’ve read 100 books, and I’ve talked to lots of friends, and I’ve been in mastermind groups over the years, but when I didn’t actually start going… my wife and I decided for our fifth year wedding anniversary, we were going to give ourselves marriage counseling. So, we weren’t in like jeopardy.

[JOE]:
Ah, that’s so cool.

[JOHN]:
Yeah, thank you, we thought it was pretty cool. We’re just like, you know, what would really help us level up? And we’re like, well, probably bringing an expert in. Because we weren’t like, at risk of any kind of like horrible issues in our marriage. We just thought, you know what, there’s probably another level. And sure enough, there was. Once we started going to counseling, we just realized there were so many ways we can improve our communication, and our marriage overall is amazing. So anyways, that therapist that we’ve gone to, I’ve since went back to him individually, like just me also, to even get career and professional advice. And I’ve been so blown away by the wisdom that’s locked in that room, right? Like he doesn’t have a podcast, doesn’t have an email list, doesn’t have a website. The only way to get that wisdom and to get that experience is to drive and pay money to sit in a room and talk to him.

Well, thankfully, this current crisis has mean that I was the first virtual session over a video call that he’s ever done, which is, that’s great. That’s awesome. But there’s this whole other thing where I want to take this, and I want to like shout all this expertise to everyone. I want everyone to hear this. And that’s true for so many other licensed experts who really have been done a disservice by the last five to ten years of social media influencers, who’ve been acting as if they’re the experts when they’re really not.

[JOE]:
Well, and grad schools aren’t teaching any of this, for the most part, even still, and only if you stumble across a podcast like this, are a lot of these people really getting that kind of information. So, let’s take a standard counselor. Like we can even think about your own counselor. They have tons of skills, they’re really good at helping people level up in their marriage, their career, all those things. If your therapist said to you, John, okay, help me get out into the world. What would your action plan be for your therapist?

[JOHN]:
Totally. Well, I don’t think he can legally say who he is, but I think I can. So, his name is Marcus Jeromes. So, we can just say Marcus, just for this example. I mean, the first thing I would tell Marcus is that you have to, number one, start a weekly email newsletter. And you’re like, what? John, that is so outdated. Come on, email has been around forever. And it’s true. It’s not the sexiest thing on the market. But it works. The reality is email is the only medium that for more than 20 years has successfully allowed people to build completely online businesses, and grow income, and communicate with their audience directly. Email is the most direct way to communicate with your audience where you don’t have to deal with a gatekeeper like Facebook, like Instagram, like Twitter, even like…

[JOE]:
And by Gatekeeper, you mean someone’s following you but then you still don’t get to directly talk to them. You have to oftentimes pay Facebook to talk to your own audience.

[JOHN]:
Yeah, exactly. So a lot of people don’t realize that but let’s just say for example, that you have 1000 followers or likes on your Facebook page, and then you post something online on Facebook, well, you will be lucky, if you have a good day, that about 40 of those thousand will actually even see your post in their feed. And that’s because, you know, all these social media platforms are flooded with content and so the way that they want to make the user experience great is that they use their algorithms to determine how much of your content display to people. So yeah, you end up having to pay for advertising just to get your content to people who signed up for it in the first place. And so, it’s just, the reality is social media has its purposes, totally, I don’t mean to dismiss it across the board. But email is the most direct way to communicate with your audience, where you’re not having to actually deal with all the same algorithms, you’re essentially communicating… it’s like having someone’s mailing address and knocking on the door, like, you can go directly to them.

[JOE]:
I love that you start with that. That’s actually in module two of Podcast Launch School. Before we say order this microphone, before we say anything, we walk them through this whole process of creating an email course, so that they really refine their message and figure out you know, and they have a place to send people even if they’re not yet launching the podcast. They can send people there; they can be on other people’s podcasts. Now, when you think about creating weekly emails, what are just some tips or tricks for how to figure out your message in those emails?

[JOHN]:
Well, that’s a great question, Joe. And the first thing that I would do is actually just remember that, you know, if you’re new to like email marketing, that’s totally legit. You know, don’t be overwhelmed by that, it’s okay for that to seem a little scary. But remember, you’ve been emailing for your entire professional career, you’re actually really good at this, sending one person an email, you do this all the time. Well, so just take that exact same skill set and translate that to the emails that you’re sending to your audience. People get really confused by this because they go, well, if I’m sending… I mean, even if you just take your list of patient emails from past appointments, you might have a few hundred or even over a thousand subscribers right away, just email those people.

[JOE]:
Well, let me jump in there – from a HIPAA compliance standpoint, and John, I wouldn’t expect you to know this…

[JOHN]:
Oh, no, I don’t know.

[JOE]:
You do need to make sure that you talk to them about that before you do it. So, you wouldn’t want to just upload that. And you want to have a business associates agreement with your email marketing system. So, just remember that, or just have it in your sign-off on your intake paperwork. John, I wouldn’t expect you to know that at all.

[JOHN]:
I’m glad you know that, Joe. Yeah, all the time, I’ll like… so, I’ve actually run into my counselor at like a public event. And I’m like, hey, and he’s kind of like, he’s trying to explain to me. He’s like, HIPAA is a big deal. So, he’ll try to, like, pretend like he doesn’t know who I am until I very clearly emphasize, like, I am releasing this information.

[JOE]:
I always started my first sessions with people saying, it’s a small town, if I run into you, I will ignore you, unless you say hi to me, but I won’t introduce you. So, introduce yourself to my family if you want to, or whoever I’m with.

[JOHN]:
Yeah, he told me the same thing. So, I was like, alright, alright, so I get it. HIPAA, I’m glad you said that, Joe, cuz I wouldn’t know about that. So, let’s just assume you’ve done all the right steps and you have some sort of email list of some kind, whether it’s, you know, through a secondary opt in, or through your patient list, however that works. I mean, even if you send an email to 1000 people, you’re not really sending an email to 1000 people. Because they don’t get in a room, and put up your email on the big screen and read it collectively, right? That’s just not how people consume email. People consume email individually, on their smartphone, or on their computer, one person reading one email. So, what that means is that even if you’re writing an email to 1000 people, you actually need to write your email to one person and send it out that way. So, whenever I get an email that starts with like, hey everyone, I’m like, ah, you know, that’s the first mistake, because that immediately tells me you’re not talking to me, you’re talking to the crowd. And everyone wants to know you’re talking to them. So the first tip I would say, is just take the exact same skills, like literally, you could put a patient’s name in there, write the email out as if you’re writing to that one patient, like, hey, here’s a conversation that I had recently that reminded me, did you know that the importance of, for example, here’s one that I learned recently from my therapist, where he might send an email and say, you know, hey, in a recent conversation, I was reminded that you may not realize this, that your level of differentiation as a person means you are actually attracted to people who are just as differentiated as you. And so, if you’re feeling tension with someone, it may be that you are simply at different levels of differentiation. So, I’m not a therapist by any means, but I’m just kind of using my way to capture an example of one tip that you could just send in an email; write it as if you’re writing to one person, and then send it to everybody so that to them, it feels like a personal email.

[JOE]:
And how important is… because what we teach – and you can totally disagree with this – but what we teach in Podcast Launch School is that someone should kind of look at those first nine emails as a course, that it kind of has its own arc to it, that you’re really looking at the pain and then the transformation throughout it. From your point of view, how important is it that each email feel sequential, like it’s part of something bigger, versus it’s just kind of a standalone email and they don’t necessarily connect, week to week?

[JOHN]:
So, I think, this is actually where I’d say it depends on the timing. In other words, on where we’re at in your relationship with the subscriber. So when someone first joins your email list, or if you have a bunch of email subscribers you haven’t been talking to, the first time you reach out to them, I would say yeah, definitely – the first five to ten emails should feel like they’re part of a sequence or a series of some kind. But after that, I very much believe that each email should stand alone. And that’s because you don’t want people… the reality is, the average open rate is less than 30%. So, if you send three emails, well, now the average subscriber on your list hasn’t read any of them. And so if they see that email number four in a series comes out, and they haven’t read the first three, they may ignore it just because they feel like they’re behind, just because they feel like they don’t want to have to do the hard work to follow up.

So, we send a weekly free email newsletter to our Platform University subscribers. It’s called Teach It Forward. Now, on my side, every time I write an issue of Teach It Forward, I know the one that I’m writing this week is issue number 53. In other words, we now have more than a year of weekly newsletters in the queue for this. So, I know that it’s issue number 53, but we don’t put that anywhere in the newsletter. As far as they know, it’s just Teach It Forward, and they can read that one lesson, that one tip, and take that away, even if they’ve ignored everything else that we’ve said before that. Because we want people to be able to jump in wherever they are. So I think… that’s kind of my approach is I would say, when someone first joins your email list, yeah, you want to lean into making sure they feel like there’s a, like you said, there’s like a pain that you’re identifying, and that you’re solving that pain, because that’s when it’s so crucial to get that trust, then they’re going to continue to open your emails. But then I would recommend having each email stand alone as its own a piece of content.

[JOE]:
Okay, so if Marcus gets that going, what else would you have Marcus do to continue to level up?

[JOHN]:
Sure. So, the first thing would be that weekly email newsletter. And the second thing that I would do is that I would encourage Marcus to pick a content medium to publish content publicly, right? Because your email newsletter is not public. Anybody can subscribe to it, maybe, it’s kind of like a behind the curtain; someone has to subscribe first. So, in terms of which content medium to begin with, I mean, of course, the big categories of your options are that you can start a blog, you can start a podcast, or you can start a YouTube channel. You can also go straight to social media but actually, I don’t recommend that. You wanna start with something that you own first and use social media to promote that. So, of those three, any one of them are phenomenal. And you should look at what existing skill sets you have. And so like, if you’re already naturally good on video, and you enjoy that, great, go to YouTube. If you enjoy, I mean, maybe honestly, if you’ve already spent most of your career just talking to patients, well maybe a podcast like Joe, your podcast here, is a phenomenal way to start.

In general, all else being equal, our advice with Platform University is always to start with a blog. And there’s two reasons. One is, it is the easiest to create. In other words, you don’t need fancy software, you don’t need fancy equipment, you can literally just type and hit Publish. It’s the easiest medium to create. And so, it’s the fastest to start if you’re just getting started in the online space. And the second reason is that it’s the easiest to consume. In other words, people who are reading a blog post, don’t need a podcast app, they don’t need the YouTube app, they literally can just land on your website and read your content. It also has the extra benefit that search engines like Google have a lot more to work with in a blog post. In other words, if someone’s searching for a keyword, and you mention that in your article, you have a good chance of ranking for that keyword. On a podcast or YouTube video, you really can only rank for the title and the description. Because you don’t typically have a word for word SEO capability with either a podcast or YouTube.

[JOE]:
I actually, when I was at Podfest, some of the [unclear] people, they were talking about how there’s some things going on with Google where they’re actually auto-transcribing and recommending some podcasts based on even beyond the title now.

[JOHN]:
Oh, interesting.

[JOE]:
But, I mean, who knows how much they’re gonna rank that and I totally agree with you that a blog is the easiest to start versus, you know, a podcast or something like that. But that’s something that I just learned recently was like, oh my gosh, like, that’s crazy. Because we’re paying to have someone transcribe every single episode of this and, you know, with SEO and if at some point, Google could just hand that transcription to me, I would love that.

[JOHN]:
No, that would be super cool. I know. And iTunes even said in their latest version of like separating the podcast [unclear] thing, they also said they’re going to be automatically transcribing podcasts at some point and including that in there. So, who knows. But the downside of that really is that, I mean, Joe, like this conversation you and I are having, the best podcasts are conversational, but that also means they’re not actually optimized for search, right? Because there’s kind of these rabbit trails you go on, you know, they’re not really… even if we had a word for a transcript, they’re not going to rank as high for a keyword as an article that’s really tight and to the point on that subject.

[JOE]:
And the way it would read would feel so much different than how it sounds.

[JOHN]:
Exactly, exactly. Yeah.

[JOE]:
If your private practice is making less than $100,000 a year, we want to help you next level practice is the membership community. That helps you get to that six figures. We have over four hundred people that are in this membership community. And for only $99 a month, you can join this community and get access to over 30 courses, live events, experts, small groups, and accountability partners, we want you to be a part of next level practice because we want your practice to get to the next level. If you want to join the cohort that starts August 24, head on over to practice of the practice comm forward slash invite, and you will get an invitation to join that cohort. We only open this up a couple times a year. And we want you to join this cohort. Again, that’s practice of the practice.com forward slash invite. So, getting the emails going, getting the blog going, what other things are maybe like bonus things like pick any of the following like here’s like a checklist of other things. You don’t have to do them all. But here’s just a couple other things after you get those going that would help you continue to level up.

[JOHN]:
Yeah, I mean, I would say first make sure that you connect the first two, right? So, you need to have some sort of form on your website, or on your blog, where people can actually join your email list. And so that’s kind of like just to connect those two. And then bonus points, I would say, I would focus on identifying one strategy that you’re going to use, one primary strategy to use to get people to your website. Because of course, if you have a website, someone can land on your website and they can join your email list. But now, you gotta actually get people to your website. So, there are a few different strategies you can use. One of them is paid advertising. And I’m not recommending you start with that by any means. In fact, I would say that’s probably the last one you should consider. But we just got to get it out of the way because right now, it’s kind of like, a lot of businesses are acting like it’s the only way is to just invest heavily in like Facebook advertising, Instagram advertising. So that is a legitimate method. It’s just very expensive. And fun fact, Wicked Reports did a study of over… I think was over a billion dollars in ad spend campaigns on social media ads, and they discovered the average campaign had a negative 50% ROI. In other words, people, on average, lose a lot of money on ads – more than they make. So, just going to put that out there as a red flag.

[JOE]:
Wow.

[JOHN]:
Yeah. So, another strategy you can use is social media. But I would say social media is a category, not a strategy. So, within social media, you want to figure out, okay, who is your target customer, and where are they spending most of their time? Is it on Instagram? Is it on Facebook? Is it on…? You know, here’s what’s interesting, so I’m gonna have to reveal a little bit of my quarantine habits, but my wife and I recently created a shared Tiktok account for the first time and one of the most viral, popular accounts right now on Tiktok – there are a few of these, actually, there’s about five of them – are licensed therapists. And they’re jumping in, and what they’re doing is that they’re… you can tell they’re therapists that are targeting a younger demographic because that’s kind of the norm on Tiktok, but they’re taking like the most popular little trend of like an audio clip with a dance move, and they’re doing it just like everyone else, they’re kind of like, we’re in this together. But on the screen, they’re having little words pop up as they’re dancing, which are giving like legitimate, actual counseling advice. And then they’ll just say like, hey, you know, details in the comments if you want to learn more about the research behind this. It’s been super cool to see because people are eating it up and loving it. And honestly, Tiktok, other than the therapists, there’s a lot of not great stuff on there. And so, it’s good to actually have some of that in the mix.

So, I’m not saying every therapist needs to go create an account on Tiktok. That really depends on where your target audience is, but it’s an option. And then SEO, we kind of alluded to this earlier, Joe, but that’s actually a whole strategy where people will just use tools like AnswerThePublic.com, where you can go on answerthepublic.com and you can enter a keyword like depression, or like suicide, or like divorce, or whatever it might be, and it’ll bring up a visual of all the questions that people are already asking online that are related to that topic, such as, how do I save my marriage if I think we might be at risk of divorce? I’m not going to go into more examples, because I’m definitely not an expert in that field. But it’s a really cool tool that you can use to actually inspire your content, to make sure that you’re creating content based on the questions people are asking, which means you’re more likely to rank for those questions, as the answer, in tools like Google.

[JOE]:
That’s so awesome. Well, in the last couple of minutes, I want to make sure we talk about kind of business in a post pandemic or ongoing cycle of pandemic world. Because we’re in mid-2020 right now, there’s still a lot of unknowns. Some states have opened up, some are kind of gradually opening up, and then we’re seeing big blips of places that opened up and had big parties, and then there’s redoing of viruses, all that stuff. So, I know that you are doing a lot of work and a lot of research around kind of business and pandemic and how we live online. I’d love to hear any trends that maybe aren’t typically being picked up in the media, or things that you see in the coming say six to twelve months that people should just know about in regards to business in this pandemic world.

[JOHN]:
Okay, so I’ll share two that come to mind right off the bat. I’ll start with the one that’s, I think, most applicable to your audience, Joe. But then I’ll share one other one that I’m intrigued by and curious about, that is definitely kind of… it’s a bet. So, we’ll start with the first one, cos it’s a little bit more reliable. This may be obvious, like, you may already be seeing this because so many people are already pivoting it, but before the pandemic, telehealth was kind of like a cool new thing that some people were doing, but the vast majority of professionals were not offering it as an option at all, to be able to have some sort of HIPAA compliant platform to do video conferencing and sessions. And so literally, like, before the pandemic, if I wanted to go meet with my therapist, I drove an hour into downtown Nashville, struggled to find parking, went up six levels on an elevator to get into a room to have a session. Well, now, all of a sudden everybody’s doing telehealth because it’s kind of the only way to do most sessions, and most professional services, because so many people are getting a fast education in virtual meetings.

I think pandemic or not, I don’t think we’re going back to just the default is everybody goes in. But that doesn’t mean no one will go in. I think what that means for licensed professionals and therapists and other professionals like that is that the default is actually going to change to a video call. And the only reason someone is going to be interested in an in-person meeting, for the most part, is going to be if you’re offering experience. So for example, if you are offering to come into a relaxing space, we’ve created almost like a spa like environment, you know, maybe with some essential oils diffusing and some, you know, relaxing music, and that’s part of the experience for someone coming in, I have a hunch people are actually going to be willing to pay a premium for in person services, but only if it’s an experience. And the same goes for retail. Now everyone’s got a fast track education in buying products online, anybody who wasn’t doing that before. The only reasons why someone’s going to go into a physical retail store to buy products after the pandemic, is because they’re offering an experience. That’s what they’re looking for. And so, you have to think about that in terms of, how does your service relate to an experience? So that’s the first thing I’ll share, Joe.

[JOE]:
When I think that the natural… when I think about how the therapists I know, they say, oh, no, the in person is still like the gold standard. It’s amazing. People want it. But when I think about us – we also do regular marriage counseling – the fact that I can have our kids kind of play on the main floor, or pull up the iPad, whatever they do to occupy themselves for that hour, and we just have to go into the den, compared to finding a sitter, driving across town, finding parking, like it becomes a two to three hour experience to do a 45 minutes session.

[JOHN]:
Exactly.

[JOE]:
So, I think that more and more there’s gonna be a lot of people that say just the convenience of online counseling is there and actually, Clay Cockrell, he did a webinar for us. He has onlinecounseling.com. He’s actually offering free directory listing through that. He’s a friend of ours, and he was saying that he thinks a lot of people have this tendency of making online counseling less, saying that it’s not as expensive and all of this, but that really, the reality is it’s just as valuable if not more to the client. So, don’t drop your prices just because it’s online.

[JOHN]:
Right. I would agree with that, for sure. Because you’re selling transformation. How you deliver it is kind of neither here nor there. Can I share one more…?

[JOE]:
Yeah. Yeah, let’s do it.

[JOHN]:
Okay. So, this is one that’s been fascinating. If you look at the… and so this is actually especially relevant to people who have primarily location dependent practices, like, where you’re basically serving your local community, your local town, [unclear]. You can actually look up live graphs right now of how the internet usage, at different times a day, is drastically changing in the US and across the world, but I’m going to primarily talk about the US. So, what’s interesting is that just a few months ago, during nine to five, Monday through Friday, internet usage shot up like crazy – I mean, they use these colorful graphs – in major cities and major metropolis. And so, you’d see this where it’s like, okay, well, you know, there’s a lot of these smaller towns surrounding cities, which are really commuter cities, or feeder cities, where everyone lives. They’re sleeper cities, you know, everyone lives there, and they drive into work. Well, because of the pandemic, everyone in those professions or whatever their field is, is getting a fast track education in virtual, remote work because of the lockdown, and so what that means is if you look at the maps they’ve changed. So now, during Monday through Friday, nine to five, internet usage shoots up like crazy in towns that otherwise wouldn’t have even appeared on the map, right? Because normally, the only reason someone’s using internet is, you know, in the evening to watch Netflix for the most part, but now, it’s actually part of how they’re doing their work every day. I think that’s going to radically change the landscape in America and across the world of where people do business. And so, we’re not going to go back to everyone going back to the office. Some businesses, some professions are, some people are going to work remotely, some people are going to find an office near their home, or a co working space, which I’m kind of betting on.

[JOE]:
You have a little bit of investment there.

[JOHN]:
I do have a little bit of investment in that. But that also means that when they’re looking at where do I go? Let’s just say they do want to get out of the house and go to an actual physical session, whereas before, it may have been convenient to go to a place that was in the city where they work, now they’re going to be looking for something close to their home, because that’s just where our world is going back to – people working and staying close to their home. And I don’t think that’s going to be… there might be a pendulum like, we might flip a little bit back towards the middle, but I don’t think we’re going to flip all the way back to these commuter… you know, driving an hour or two hours into the city every day to go to work. I just don’t see that. And now that we’ve all had a taste of the convenience of working from our home or near our home.

[JOE]:
Yeah, I mean, it’s so interesting how even in the world of education, so you know, our daughters, we’ve decided to homeschool them because the school they were at wasn’t really doing a ton. And so, to see what it takes to keep them on track is maybe… so we do about an hour of like English writing, reading, that sort of stuff, and maybe an hour of math. And then really, the rest is kind of creative learning. So, we’ll watch a documentary and then do an art project and then go on a hike. And so, it’s really experiential. But just even thinking about you know, waking these kids up at 6:45, so that we can then get them to school by 8:00, and then I can get back home at the office by 8:30. And then spending another hour going and getting them, and then having them just have that time that they really aren’t kind of back to themselves till 4:30. And it’s like, I just spent like three or four hours just getting my kid to and from school.

[JOHN]:
Just logistics. Yeah.

[JOE]:
Just logistics. Whereas I could homeschool them in four hours a day and be on track. And there’s of course, a big discussion slash argument around, you know, socialization and all that side of the system. But I think that a lot of people, in the same way you’re talking about how they’re reinventing work and have been exposed to this new way of working they never would have maybe chose, I think education… there’s gonna be so much disruption from this, like, massive experiment that happened, but I’m excited to see how people really say like, what do I want my life to look like, rather than what script I’ve been given by the industrialists in the early 1900s.

[JOHN]:
Exactly. Yes, that is exactly what this is, is that it’s kind of like we finally somewhat… I mean, I’ve been saying it for a while that like, you know, we should probably fix our economy and culture the same way you fix computers, you just turn it off and turn it back on. Now, I was kidding. I didn’t actually mean we should do that. But here we are.

[JOE]:
So, this is your fault, is what you’re saying.

[JOHN]:
Yeah. Yeah. Well, I’m one of those weird homeschoolers that was homeschooled the whole way through high school, so maybe I am [unclear].

[JOE]:
Oh, man, we’re gonna have… we have many more conversations ahead of us. Well, John, the last question that I always ask is, if every private practitioner in the world were listening right now, what would you want them to know?

[JOHN]:
That the world needs you. That right now, they need you desperately. There are so many people out there looking for help and guidance and just emotionally coping with the, you know, hashtag adulting in the new world. And so, the world needs you. And the best way for you to reach them is to build an email list and to go where they are already spending time online, and to just share with them a little bit of what you have that can help. So, I’m excited about that.

[JOE]:
That’s so awesome, John. And if people want to connect with you, where can they find your work?

[JOHN]:
So that’s a great question. Thank you. So, we actually already… I created sort of like a one-page page on platformuniversity.com/practice, where I featured a couple of resources on there which I thought would be helpful. One of them is that free Teach It Forward newsletter which I mentioned earlier, which is going to be just a tactical way to get a tip every week on something you could do to build your audience online. But another one is an online income checklist. So, I know we didn’t really talk about this a lot today. But there are so many ways to generate revenue and generate income online and to grow your business, the business side of your practice, beyond just one to one services. So, we actually have a seven-step action plan to quickly generate revenue from your blog, vlog, or podcast, which you can download for free as well on that same page. So, I hope that’s helpful.

[JOE]:
That’s awesome. Well, John, thank you for being on the Practice of the Practice podcast.

[JOHN]:
It was my pleasure. Thanks for having me, Joe.

[JOE]:
So how are you going to grow? How are you going to enact your platform, because a lot of the information that’s in every single session that you do, could be helping the world in a much deeper way. And so, it could be that it’s time for you to start a podcast, maybe it’s time for you to really just get out there and to share more or to just test some things out. Take John’s advice and really kind of get out there and start developing a platform. Also, if you need an electronic health records, TherapyNotes is the premium provider of that. The best electronic health records out there. It’s got scheduling, progress notes, and now they have video as well. So, if you want to sign up for TherapyNotes, use promo code JOE, or if you’re a Next Level Practice subscriber, purchase and then forward it to me and you will get six months for free. And it’s just amazing because they’ve given this only to Next Level Practice people. There’s no other place that they’re giving six months for free. In fact, we have in our contract that it has to be the best deal that they’re giving out there, which is so awesome to be able to do for all of you. So, thank you so much for letting me into your ears and into your brain. Have an amazing week and I’ll talk to you soon.

Special thanks to the band Silence is Sexy for your intro music; we really like it. This podcast is designed to provide accurate, authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is given with the understanding that neither the host, the publisher, or the guests are rendering legal, accounting, clinical or other professional information. If you want a professional, you should find one.

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